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Showing posts from February, 2014

Friday morning

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Yesterday started out rather well, I had mention to the Mercedes garage, when they phone to apologise about the mess up in delivering the car, that Landrover always gave me a bunch of flowers when ripping me off for large sums of money and I thought they were missing a trick.  At 10 am the doorbell rang there was this lovely bunch of flowers courtesy of Mercedes.  Well I really had to chuckle what a surprise!!!! 
We had a nice lunch of oxtail stew with mash and kale and were all about to set off for an afternoon sleep when Mikes hernia decided to really bulge forth to the size of a grapefruit and he was in agony and unable to walk.  We laid him down on the sofa with his feet elevated and called 111 in the hope of some advice.  After speaking to a clinician an ambulance was called and we were off to the Medway hospital.  Well to cut a long story short at about 8pm they discharged him having given him steroids antibiotics for his chest and morphine for the pain.  By the time the genera…

Thursday Morning

"Its raining its pouring and the old man is snoring"  
It is truly filthy outside cold wet and windy after the little break in the weather it comes as a bit of shock to be back to this horrid stuff again.  We managed to get most of the chores done yesterday and had a really very tasty lunch.  I coated the pork chops with a mixture of sage and onion stuffing mix and breadcrumbs and cooked them off in the oven with the dauphinoise potatoes and a tomato.  I decided to cook the tomato as they have absolutely no flavour at all and a bit of roasting makes them palatable.  Mikes car was delivered back and he was able to take himself to the doctors surgery.  I had booked him an appointment on line and he has now been referred to a general surgeon for action on his hernia.  Now we sit and wait for the appointment to come through.  Hopefully he will get to see the right person unlike our friend Margaret who went to get results of her heart tests but was sent to a bowel surgeon by mis…

Wednesday morning

For once I am up in the light, well only just the sun is on the rise and I have just settled down with my coffee to write.  Yesterday was a wet day but we managed to get the allotted chores done. Denny came and blitzed through the house while James and I did a similar job on his flat.  Sadly his hoover has died and is in need of replacing and as it happens I lifted the hoover from my neighbours when they left for New Zealand. They left it out for the bin men but I got there first so I have a spare hoover. The other item which is sadly missing is a soft broom and as most of the floors are thermoplastic tiled you really do need a  broom so I think a trip to B&Q will sort that out.  James and I had a ham egg and chips in the local pub where we felt quite out of place as we were the only customers under 80.  It seems to be a very popular pub with the older generations and the menu reflects the age group with things like shepherds pie, faggots and peas and liver and bacon on the menu …

Tuesday morning

Yesterdays brilliant sunrise prove the old saying wrong as it turned out to be a glorious spring day however it is now tipping down with rain this morning and how I wish I had done the sheets yesterday.  I don't think we stand a chance of drying outside today but yesterday would have been fine.   
I did however make the loaf of bread as intended and I also made a very nice goulash with a couple of ox cheeks and some peppers that I had lurking in the fridge just starting to look a bit sad.  We had it for supper with some buttered noodles and some sour cream made in the thermomix by reconstituting milk and butter then adding a squirt of lemon to sour it.  The cream beats up really easily and it is a real boon to just be able to make some cream when you need it.  I always have unsalted butter so there is no problem there.  
At the top of the road, on the parade of shops, is a veterinary practice so I took Nip up to have his nails cut as despite a massive search we couldn't find …

Monday morning

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Well here we go another day another dollar and can you believe that February is drawing to a close so soon.  It seems to have zipped by in the muddle that is normal life.  
Let me start with yesterday; we set off for the shooting ground at about 9am it is a 25 mile drive so it took a while but once we arrived we discovered that the woods were much colder  than we had anticipated and there was a fierce wind blowing.  This made the shooting a very much hit and miss affair as the clay were being caught by the wind and doing all sorts of aerobatics.  Consequently both James and I shot really badly but then so did everyone else so we didn't feel too embarrassed.  Sandi and David popped in to see how we were doing, I think we were the only ones with a personal fan club.  One of the guys in the group ahead of us had a little 410 gun which is usually what they start children off with as it has no recoil but offered me a go with it.  It felt really strange as it was so light and went off …

Sunday morning

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Yesterday was another glorious spring like day and according to the weather forecast today is supposed to be the same.  With that in mind we have decided to go shooting this morning so fingers crossed they have got it right.  Yesterday we went to a shop that sells gas fires and found one that would be perfect for what we want so hopefully we can get on with the job of installing it fairly soon.  
As it was such a lovely day the dogs got a good blast in the fresh air as did we.  We always have a nice time on our walks as you bump into lots of other dog walkers and they always stop for a chat while the dogs play with each other.  Tubby is getting very brave with the paddling pool which is actually deep enough to come halfway up his chest.  I think once the summer comes he is not going to take much encouragement to swim.  He very definitely sees Basso as his mentor and follows him everywhere and copies what he is doing.  This has one very positive benefit as Basso comes back to his reca…

Saturday morning

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Yesterday was a nice but cold day.  However it was dry and ideal dog walking weather so we headed to riverside park and had a lovely walk.  Then it was home to continue with the never ending laundry and to cook the lunch.  The brisket was tasty and just right with the Yorkshire pudding.  There is plenty left over for a cottage pie for today.  The leftover risotto was made into balls filled with mozzarella cheese then egg and bread crumb coated.  After shallow frying they were served with a garlicky tomato sauce and a cooked chard salad dressed with lots of lemon juice and good olive oil.


Later in the afternoon Gary came with his cousin ( a gas fitter) and had a good look at what needed doing to instal the fire.  Today we are of to a showroom to choose the fire we fancy, then hopefully in a week or two we may actually get the job done.  I will be delighted once it is done as then finally I can organise for the carpets to be professionally cleaned.  Hopefully by then the worst of this…

Friday morning and part 2

Yesterday was a busy day.  Shiona arrived at the usual time and after coffee we headed to the butcher to restock the freezer.  Then it was onto Aldi for a few bits and pieces.  Then off to walk the dogs which we did at the strand which has nice dry paths.  We finally got home quite late but I had done the base work on the risotto.  With it we had yellow fin sole from Aldi which baked in the oven as the risotto cooked.   I then organised the piece brisket into the slow cooker with an assortment of vegetables.  Hopefully today it will make a nice meal especially if I make some Yorkshire pudding and horseradish sauce to go with it. I am now freezing and going back to bed and try for some more sleep.  I will continue when I get up properly.
Part 2
After a very wet day yesterday today looks clear and bright at the moment but the temperature is half of what it was yesterday.  I have some left over risotto which I intend to make into aranchini with a mozzarella filling for supper.  The bris…

Thursday morning

The rain is back, what a surprise!!! but I am still consoling myself that at least the temperatures are well above zero and we are not buried under tons of snow so things could be worse.  Today is a red letter day it is Basso's 6th birthday and it looks like we will be having a party as Shiona and her dogs are coming to visit so the tin of Chappie [special birthday treat] will get stretched for all.
The hens got their bottoms sprayed with the anti cannibalism spray so hopefully they will leave their feathers alone now.  The can gives no indication of how often it should be used so I intend to make it a weekly ritual.  By way of entertainment I also purchased them a small football that is filled with food which scatters as they kick it around.  If they still insist on committing suicide on their own head be it I have done my best for them.
At last Mike is feeling better in himself and actually took himself to Tesco yesterday.  He is still loosing weight despite all my efforts to b…

Wednesday morning bin day

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Yesterday was a day of mixed weather no sooner did you think it was safe to go out but the heavens opened so we ended up staying in most of the day.  That was not too bad as I was roasting a chicken for lunch which went down very well.  I somewhat over did the mash and cabbage as I wanted leftovers for some bubble and squeak for today.  The chicken carcass went into the pot for some stock which I intend to use for a risotto this evening.  I had a large bunch of coriander left so I decided to go mexican for supper and we had tortillas with salsa and all the trimmings.  It is interesting how my menu very often is dictated by an ingredient that is on the blink and needs using up.  Thats when a comprehensive store cupboard comes in handy.  
The spray for the hens arrived late last evening so I locked them up tight in their house so that this morning I can take them out one by one and spray them before turning them loose. This is a much easier way of dealing with them than trying to catch…

Tuesday Morning

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Now I need to say this quietly "we have had 2 dry days in succession", however we did have some showers during the night last night.  Yesterday I mentioned that I might go to the wonderful food emporium in Faversham and take advantage of the 10% discount.  Good job Sandy read my blog then phoned to remind me it is only 10% off vegetables.   I knew I wrote this rubbish for a reason.
I took a lovely piece of video of Tubby and Basso playing together but then had all kinds of trouble trying to edit the piece I think I may have finally got the thing sorted out and put it on Youtube http://youtu.be/Lk2kekYbvdM but who knows I don't think I have managed to edit off my comments at the end.
I was hoping my chicken medication would arrive yesterday but no sign of it yet but the hens seem happier out and about than they were in the greenhouse.
James did us a load of potsticker dumplings for lunch but by supper time I was feeling a bit queasy and avoided supper and stuck to water …

Monday morning

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What a glorious day we had yesterday all the nasty weather really makes you appreciate a bit of sunshine.  We took the dogs for a good run and the car park to the park was completely full by about 9am as everyone had decided to get out into the fresh air.  There were bicycles prams and pushchairs as well as walkers, bird watchers and runners and of course dog walkers.  I think this is the longest walk Tubby has had which left him completely shattered when we got home and he was very happy to curl up and snore in the crate.
When I went to plant my tomato seeds I noted that my heated propagator was not on and didn't seem to be functioning so after a few checks I asked my neighbour to pass his Avometer over it and confirm that death had indeed occurred. So it was a quick jump in the car and off to B&Q and purchase a new one.  Fortunately I grabbed the last one they had left in stock so hopefully my tomato seeds are now all snug in their new propagator and will duly germinate and…

Sunday morning

Did I get out to the shed and do the planting?  No I got sidetracked but in a nice way and went to See Woo the oriental supermarket instead.  I am now fully stocked with potsticker dumplings in assorted flavours.  They do a huge range so we kind of bought one of each and my freezer is now full to bursting.  We also bought some char siu pork and half a crispy duck which went on the supper menu last night.   Along with plain boiled rice dressed with some of the sticky sauce left from our sticky chicken wing meal.
By the time we got home we were ready for the corned beef hash which I had prepared at the crack of dawn so it just needed adding to a hot pan to fry off the onions and brown the cubed and boiled potatoes then in went the cubed corned beef and out onto a plate.  This is one of those dishes that is so much better than the sum of the parts.  A good squirt of brown sauce is also a must!!!  It was a relatively small quantity and I didn't add any fried eggs as I knew we had a g…

Saturday morning

It is still raining and blowing here as it has been since early yesterday morning.  This weather is truly terrible and I really feel for those underwater.  If it were just water that would be bad enough but to have raw sewage floating through your house must be awful.  I think the insurance companies are going to have their work cut out not mention their profits cut. It is only when disaster strikes that you find out if your insurance is worth the paper it is written on.
James is staying with us for a couple of days just so he can get some rest and Tubby can have use of the garden.  You can imagine up and down the stairs with him 8-10 times a day is quite challenging. Fortunately his bladder is growing in proportion with the rest of him so he is needing fewer visits to the garden.  Because we have a flap he has access to the garden as and when he chooses which means James can catch up on some lost sleep.  He has also been having some boxing lessons with Basso which to the uninitiated…

Friday Morning

Well it is stupid oclock yet again but I have every intention of not freezing this morning so I will crack on with the blog and then go and have a hot shower and go back to bed.  Yesterday I managed to accomplish most of my chores and finally got us registered online with the doctors surgery.  What a boon that is going to be.  I have booked Mike an appointment for 4pm this afternoon as he has now managed to cough himself into a hernia.  Not that I think they will do anything about it but at least it will be on his records and I would like to get his medication sorted out over the long term.
The dogs got a good run and Tubby and Basso had a couple of boxing lessons which rendered them both completely poleaxed.  Today we are set for more storms so James and Tubby are coming over so that he can use the garden and save James going out in the rain with him at regular intervals. It also means that James can get some sleep as the dog is taken care of. 
Last night for supper we had a so sort…

Thursday Morning

Sadly I am up at stupid o'clock but I did fall asleep very early last night.  Yesterday I shot out and did my shopping before dawn and was back and cooking in no time at all.  I had needed some cheese and spinach for the polenta dish which went down very well with some grilled sausages for lunch and on its own for supper.  Shiona was impressed with the dish and we decided that it is kind of like macaroni cheese without the pasta.  Anyway the polenta is finally finished.  I also made a plain beef stew with some shin beef in the pressure cooker, while in the oven, I did a tray of sticky chicken wings and in the slow cooker I put some chicken thighs and a piece of bacon to poach ready to make a chicken and ham pie.  The pie requires some further work but first I need to decide which dish to have when and which should be frozen for later.   
Today for lunch I think I will do some smoked mackerel with wasabi mayo and toast.  That is nice and easy as I have to go out and about and run …

Wednesday morning

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Recipe as promised cheap and cheerful but warm and comforting

Spinach and polenta gnocchi

300g polenta flour
200 g spinach
150 g cheese of your choice - I used up some mouse trap cheddar
Parmesan
Butter and olive oil

Bechamel sauce
400 ml of milk
40 g of flour
40 g of butter
salt, pepper

Bring a litre and half of salted water to the boil then gently add the polenta flour and mix while it cooks for about 50 minutes. If you are using quick cook variety follow the packet instructions. When the polenta comes away from the sides of the vessel it is ready: pour it onto a cutting board and allow to cool.
Clean the spinach and cook in a pan with a little olive oil until wilted.
Season with salt and remove from the heat and chop.
Prepare the sauce by softening the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir, add the milk little by little while continuing to stir.
Cook until the sauce is creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Mash the polenta with a potato masher, add the chopped spinach and…

Tuesday morning

Yesterday was another washout with absolutely no chance of drying anything outside no sooner had I put the line up than the rain started and it rained relentlessly for most of the day. Today we are forecast another big storm but as I type it is calm and dry.  I did, however, put the hen house back together and turned the hens out of the greenhouse back into their major run.  I have done this in the hope of stopping them from feather pecking before they actually commit suicide.  It is interesting that the three hens with a preponderance of white feathers are the ones who are doing this the one hen with lovely glossy brown feathers is still in peek condition.  I have never seen her attack any of the other hens so I am of the opinion that it is self inflicted rather than a case of bullying.  If boredom plays a part in the condition then they will be kept occupied outside just keeping themselves out of the rain.  They have two shelters within the run as well as the actual house but they …

Monday morning

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I finally ran out of yarn so my entrelac thing is finished.  It is just the right size for a lap rug so it will do for me in my bath chair as I don't possess an open landau [carriage pulled by horses, for my foreign readers] alternatively it will make an excellent dog blanket.
Now for some good news, which makes a change, we went shooting yesterday and while it was windy we were bathed in sunshine. Yes I said sunshine.  Not only that but I came in only 4 shots behind Jeff and given that he shoots twice as much and for twice as long as me I am very happy with that.  The shepherds pie was enough to feed 6 so it did us for both lunch and supper. 
I think I may have discovered the source of Nips upset he sneaked into my room and ate the peel from a clementine. No wonder he doesn't feel too good.  Given that he turned his nose up at some sirloin steak.  I don't think it was cooked to his liking!!!!!   I am beginning to wonder if he has all his marbles!!!!
Today is supposed to …

Sunday morning

At the moment it is blowing hard but not raining though last night saw another big storm go over with lot of rain and hail.  Those who are flooded must be in state of despair as there seems to be no end in sight.
I had a busy morning making bread, shopping and taking the dogs for a walk.  Nip is not well and is refusing to eat he did come willingly for his walk but he was very slow on his feet and I had to keep stopping to let him catch up.  Fortunately we managed it between the showers so at least we didn't get wet.  I bought a couple of sirloin steaks which we had with the leftover dauphinoise which made a very nice lunch and both steaks had some grated wasabi added at the last minute.  Mike decided that he would like scrambled eggs for supper and I had cheese on toast as neither of us were very hungry. I made a large shepherds pie for lunch today and also put a breast of lamb in the slow cooker to help melt off the fat.  Once that is done I can add some vegetables to it and ho…

Saturday morning

Good morning all surprise, surprise it is raining and blowing a hooly, I do hope we get a dry day tomorrow so we can go shooting.  Yesterday I picked James and Tubby up and went over to the gunsmiths and laid in a stock of fibre wad cartridges so fingers crossed I might even get to use them.    Early in the morning I had prepared a dauphinoise made purely with celeriac and I had lurking around some of the cheese and breadcrumb topping I had used on another dish.  This with a couple of chipolata sausages made and excellent supper dish.  For lunch we had had an english breakfast including a fried slice which is one of Mikes favourites.  As he is on the antibiotics I have put him back on porridge for breakfast and today I am going to get him some bananas which are high in potassium that gets depleted with Frusemide as a diuretic.  He is marginally better so we are hopeful that this continues and after the weekend he is feel a bit more human.
This morning I need to set too and make a she…

Friday morning

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Now which one of you spotted yesterdays error?  how many Wednesdays are there in one week? for me there were two!!!

It was a really miserable day yesterday in terms of weather as it hosed down all day with only brief periods of dry weather.  However, this affected me little as I spent a lot of time on the phone trying to organise some care for Mike.  Finally I managed a miracle I got a GP to come to the house and see him.  It was the practice senior partner, not that he bothered to introduced himself.  However he may not be the nicest man but at least he did turn up which was all that was required.  When he saw Mike he confirmed the diagnosis of heart failure and promptly prescribed furosemide which was exactly what we were after.  He even commented that if Mike was no better in a couple of days we were to call him.  I was astonished as Mike offered to come to the surgery and he promptly said "no you are not well enough".  Has the penny dropped at last!!!!
Shiona and I dashe…

Wednesday morning

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Good morning all. What a miserable day we had yesterday after the storm passed over it was followed by a slightly lessers version and the rest of the day was dismal, dank, dark and damp.  I can fully understand the historical religions that worshiped the sun when you don't see it for day on end you begin to wonder if it will ever reappear!!! However, you will be pleased to note that I have decided against sacrificing a goat!!!!
I first tried to make an appointment for Mike to see the doctor only to be told that they don't make appointments until after 3pm of course at this time it is impossible to get through as everyone else is phoning anyway I finally got through and the earliest appointment they could give me was Friday 14th at 4pm.  Finally in desperation I rang the respiratory nurses who said if I ring at 8am this morning they will get him an appointment for the same day.  So fingers crossed that that works because his condition is not good at all.  The simplest treatmen…

Wednesday morning

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Well it is a bit early but I was sound asleep by about 8pm so not a surprise really. At the moment we are in mid storm with thrashing rain and howling winds.  In anticipation of this storm I had spent some time in the garden yesterday tying in some plants which had come away from their supports.  I am not too sure that my job will be good enough to hold them through this particular storm as the wind is quite vicious.  
James and I drove over to Hadlow college in the morning to deliver Basso to the grooming school and then it was back home by about 10am which gave me time to get lunch sorted and eaten before the nurses arrived to see Mike.  I had a bit of chat with them and they agreed that he now has a degree of heart failure that needs attention.  They are going to try to galvanize the general practitioner into some action.  If I have heard nothing by this afternoon I will ring and see what is happening.  He is also very depressed which is not helping matters much.  
By 2.45 we were…